hiatus

noun
hi·​a·​tus | \ hī-ˈā-təs \

Definition of hiatus

1a : a break in or as if in a material object : gap the weedy hiatus between the town and the railroad— Willa Cather the hiatus between the theory and the practice of the party— J. G. Colton
b biology : a gap or passage in an anatomical part or organ
2a : an interruption in time or continuity : break especially : a period when something (such as a program or activity) is suspended or interrupted after a 5-year hiatus from writing a summer hiatus
b : the occurrence of two vowel sounds without pause or intervening consonantal sound

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Did You Know?

Hiatus comes from "hiare," a Latin verb meaning "to gape" or "to yawn," and first appeared in English in the middle of the 16th century. Originally, the word referred to a gap or opening in something, such as a cave opening in a cliff. In the 18th century, Laurence Sterne used the word humorously in his novel Tristram Shandy, writing of "the hiatus in Phutatorius's breeches." These days, "hiatus" is usually used in a temporal sense to refer to a pause or interruption (as in a song), or a period during which an activity is temporarily suspended (such as a hiatus from teaching).

Examples of hiatus in a Sentence

The band is making an album again after a five-year hiatus. steam was rising from an hiatus in the ground

Recent Examples on the Web

China resumed buying soybeans from American farmers in December, after a monthslong hiatus caused by trade tensions. Lucy Craymer, WSJ, "From Midwest to Far East: How China Affects America’s Top Farm Export," 28 Jan. 2019 Female Celebrities Taking Breaks From Social Media Selena Gomez, Lili Reinhart, Millie Bobby Brown, and Ariana Grande were among the stars who announced temporary hiatuses from Twitter or Instagram. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "24 Social Media Moments That Literally Made 2018," 26 Dec. 2018 This isn’t the first time that a Kardashian’s social media hiatus has made devoted fans turn into other mediums to help piece together plot holes, either. Julia Alexander, The Verge, "Kylie Jenner returned as online queen in 2018 after disappearing for nearly a year," 21 Dec. 2018 Work resumed at the sites earlier in 2018, following a hiatus in 2013. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "Cats, beetles, other mummified animals found—along with a sealed door," 12 Nov. 2018 There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Tuesday's attack, which came as protests resumed following a two-week hiatus. Fox News, "Iraqi activist shot dead in tense southern city of Basra," 25 Sep. 2018 There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Tuesday’s attack, which came as protests resumed following a two-week hiatus. Qassim Abdul-zahra, The Seattle Times, "Iraqi activist shot dead in tense southern city of Basra," 25 Sep. 2018 Kīlauea, the Hawaiian volcano that has been erupting since May, appears to have gone on a hiatus of sorts. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Hawaiian Volcano ​Kilauea Taking a Break From Erupting, But it Might Not Be All Done," 8 Aug. 2018 The impact on the publication is unclear, though the Daily Beast notes that The Onion has a relatively small staff, many of whom are currently on vacation during a regular summer hiatus. Glenn Fleishman, Fortune, "No Joke: The Onion Faces Layoffs by Univision, Says Report," 6 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hiatus.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of hiatus

1563, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for hiatus

Latin, from hiare to yawn — more at yawn

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Dictionary Entries near hiatus

Hialeah

hiatal

hiatal hernia

hiatus

Hiawatha

Hib

hiba arborvitae

Statistics for hiatus

Last Updated

13 Feb 2019

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Time Traveler for hiatus

The first known use of hiatus was in 1563

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More Definitions for hiatus

hiatus

noun

English Language Learners Definition of hiatus

: a period of time when something (such as an activity or program) is stopped

hiatus

noun
hi·​a·​tus | \ hī-ˈāt-əs \

Medical Definition of hiatus

: a gap or passage through an anatomical part or organ especially : an opening through which another part or organ passes (such as the opening in the diaphragm through which the esophagus and vagus nerves pass)

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More from Merriam-Webster on hiatus

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with hiatus

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for hiatus

Spanish Central: Translation of hiatus

Nglish: Translation of hiatus for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of hiatus for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about hiatus

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